I may be a UNBC alumna living in Vancouver but from time to time I have the great pleasure of visiting friends still living in Prince George. It’s equal parts university nostalgia and, “Wow! Life is so much different up here.” The latter sentiment hadn’t ever felt so pointed until I visited a few weeks ago for a baby shower. Here’s what I honestly could not get over about Prince George life.
During my stay I was kindly hosted by a mutual acquaintance. I walked through the front door of her home and I’m embarrassed to admit my behaviour bordered on gawking.
An entire house? How many people live here? All this space for two people?
I live in a relatively roomy 608-square foot downtown condo; what does one do with an additional 1,500 sq. ft?
Naturally I was then shown to a guest room. Not exceedingly remarkable, right? Wrong.
Guest rooms are an entirely novel concept to urbanites. You need to stay a night at my place? Meet my sofa bed.
It’s not to say I don’t want a guest room. When I was buying my condo three years ago my mom asked me, “Jenn…one bedroom, really?” She sounded cramped already. “How much would it be to get a second bedroom?” So flippantly! As if she was inquiring about a second scoop of ice cream. You see, in a city apartment there is zero financial justification for an entire room to go uninhabited. You fill it with a paying roommate so you can afford to make your student loan payments.
Prince George houses? Full of guest rooms just waiting for company to call.
Among my city-dwelling Millennial friends children have achieved unicorn status; I haven’t seen one yet.
In Prince George, homes are brimming with new bundles of joy. Women my age (27) are having babies. They’re trying for second babies. Meanwhile, I’m trying to decide if converting my condo’s hallway closet into a crib room is cruel, embarrassing or economical.
What traffic? No seriously, what traffic? Where is it?
Rush hour down south is something of a natural disaster and oftentimes it’s best to act accordingly. Batten down the hatches, take refuge and wait for the storm to pass.
I have a confession to make. Sometimes I’m invited to a friend’s place and I literally cannot bear to suffer through sardine-packed buses and sweaty Skytrains to travel a distance of just 5 kilometres.
Cherish your cars and near-vacant roads citizens of the north!
During happy hour, weekend dinners, brunch and around the water-cooler a single topic dominates conversation: real estate. And you know what? It’s boring. Not only is it an unending source of anxiety and uncertainty, I’ve had the same conversation a hundred times. While Vancouverites are preoccupied with postage-stamp living spaces at sky high prices my friends in Prince George are preoccupied with living.
A Focus on What’s Important
Lastly, the one thing I really can’t get over is the north’s lack of pretension. The locals are friendly, quick to smile and chat openly. There’s no feeling of being sized-up the moment you enter a store. It doesn’t matter that you’re not wearing the right designer label and cars aren’t a measure of ego. People are quick to lend a hand or help their neighbours.
As far as I can tell, northerners have their priorities straight; a fact I’m reminded of each time I visit.
Jennifer Hubbert is a Vancouver based online editorial coordinator at My Passion Media. She lived in Prince George for five years while attending undergraduate studies. She’s in Vancouver for a good time, not a long time.